By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Proponents of a 300-unit apartment complex on the site of Stix Driving Range are planning changes to the high-traffic Kelley Boulevard as part of a mitigation plan.
Marcus Partners went before the Town Council for an informational meeting to discuss the project, a 40R development, in late March. Chapter 40R of the Mass General Laws encourages communities to create dense residential or mixed-use smart growth zoning districts—including a high percentage of affordable housing units—to be located near transit stations, in areas of concentrated development.
This differs from a 40B project, which allows developers to bypass certain parts of the approval process if 25 percent of the housing qualifies as affordable.
“This is different from 40B—the developer can come in and do what they please with those,” Town Manager Michael Borg told the council. “40R is partnering with a developer in making sure we grow smartly.”
Caitlyn Walker with Marcus Partners meetings with town government have been held since December. This included a traffic study and discussions on the current conditions on Kelly Boulevard, which the project site is adjacent to. The study showed that vehicle trips number approximately 2,500-3,000 during peak hours, with the intersection of Route 106 and Kelley Boulevard the source of some backups.
Potential mitigation for the project includes a widening of the road, traffic signals on George Leven Drive—one of the access points for the development—or altering a right-turn lane at the intersection onto Route 106 to allow thru traffic.
“I think there’s a real opportunity to work with the town,” said Walker.
The complex would be a mix of studios and 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units. It would have 461 parking spaces and be organized into three four-story buildings. Rent would be approximately $2,700 for the market rate units. The Marcus Partners proposal, if approved, would raise the town’s affordable housing stock to 6 percent.
Another piece of legislation that impacts the project is the MBTA Communities Act of 2021. This requires those towns served by the MBTA to have at least one zoning district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is permitted. North Attleborough is listed as an MBTA Adjacent Community.
Communities that do not comply with these requirements will not be eligible to receive Massworks or Housing Choice funding. Recently, the town received a $75,000 grant through Housing Choice to study sewer lines on Mendon Road. Non-compliant communities will also be ineligible to receive funding from the Local Capital Projects Fund.
The council was largely supportive of the project, but raised some concerns along with traffic. Council President Justin Pare said they’d need to see how this would impact the schools. Councilor Darius Gregory said that affordable housing has long been a sticking point in town.
“Most of the town’s workforce would qualify for this,” he said. “This allows them not to be priced out of North Attleborough.”
Borg said he’s been in touch with Plainville’s town government, as it would also benefit from the changes to the roads.
The developers will submit zoning applications to the Department of Housing and Community Development in late May, and hearings before the council would follow in August. The hope is for a final board approval to be issued in late October.